Sustainable Forestry in the Gwich'in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Anderson, David G (8)
Licence Number: 13006
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2000 1999 1998
Issued: Sep 15, 1998
Project Team: Patrice Simon and Roberta Wishart

Objective(s): The aim of this project is to provide trained research assistance from the University of Alberta, Department of Anthropology, to work with the Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board to develop a forest management plan which is sensitive to the priorities identified by Gwich'in Elders and contemporary Gwich'in forest users. This project is directly oriented towards articulating the socio-economic aspects of an integrated management plan and thus takes Gwich'in claims about land and resources seriously. The research will involve a mixture of community and archival research, as well as workshops with elders, contemporary forest users and researchers representing the various foci will come together to use the information to derive a viable forest management plan. The key question of the proposed research will be the sustainability of forests within the Gwich'in Settlement Area under various use scenarios, based on both historic use and the history of natural disturbance / regeneration cycles, in an ecosystem at the limits of its distribution.

Project Description: The aim of this project is to develop a forest management plan which is sensitive to the priorities identified by Gwich'in Elders and contemporary Gwich'in forest users. The research will involve a mixture of community and archival research, as well as workshops with elders, contemporary forest users and researchers representing the various foci will come together to use the information to derive a viable forest management plan. The key question of the proposed research will be the sustainability of forests within the Gwich'in Settlement Area under various use scenarios, based on both historic use and the history of natural disturbance / regeneration cycles, in an ecosystem at the limits of its distribution. Two graduate students will work with forestry experts employed by the Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board and a team from the University of Alberta's Department of Renewable Resources both to supplement an existing database and to synthesize the material into a series of publications for both community and academic audiences. These trained anthropologists will integrate oral testimony from elders and archival materials to provide an overview of the history of timber use and the local value attached to forest resources. The involvement of community residents is integral to this type of collaborative research where the goal is to document Traditional Ecological Knowledge and integrate it into a culturally sensitive forestry policy.